you tell me what is causing the leaves on my giant maidenhair fern
to turn brown? It is growing in a draftfree area with plenty of
light. It grows well, but after the new leaves have been out for
a while the tips turn brown.
burn on indoor plants is often a sign that all is not well with
the roots. Too much water in the mix, or too little, or too much
fertiliser can all cause these symptoms.
But with maidenhair ferns
it is often a sign the mix is becoming too acidic. Unlike most ferns,
they seem to prefer relatively neutral or even slightly alkaline
soil pH. Most potting mixes tend to become more acidic with age
and so repotting your fern into fresh mix may solve the problem.
Some gardeners report
that watering maidenhair ferns with water eggs have been boiled
in, or adding some broken eggshells to the potting mix, or simply
having a few shells from the beach lying on top of the mix contribute
to healthier foliage. And it makes sense, as calcium, which is found
in shells, is the main element lacking in acidic soils.
Another cause for tip
burn in maidenhairs is low humidity. Air conditioners and heaters
can cause the surrounding air to be too dry. Depending on your house
design, the humidity in a well-lit room can be very low. A good
way to raise humidity around the plant is to sit the pot on a saucer
filled with pebbles. Keep the pebbles moist but ensure the bottom
of the pot is not in water. This will raise the humidity around
the plant and should help reduce tip burn.
Gardener, Issue 207, 2006, Page 41
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.